In Review: Dark Ark #7

The focus shifts to a pair of young humans as the monsters' barge continues its terrible trip.

The cover: An underwater purple mass of writhing tentacles, red eyes, and a toothy maw are show in close-up on this cover by Juan Doe. This is the creature that was shown to be following Noah’s ark, demanding that its captain feed it or it will destroy the Lord’s vessel. This creature is huge, which this cover cannot show, but its ferocity and terrible visage is obvious. The colors are in very dark purples, which definitely give it an otherworldly feel, but if it had been a little lighter it would have been easier to see the details in the artwork. Overall grade: A-

The story: This seventh installment in writer Cullen Bunn’s dark saga opens before the flood, following young Khalee who’s walked away from the village due to the horrific violence one person inflicted on others in the previous issue. She’s greeted by Janris who’s been gathering roots. Her new friend warns Khalee that she should go back, “You might not know about the things that come out once night falls.” As they make their way, Kahlee reveals that her father is Shrae, which has Janris drop her vegetables. “Your father is Shrae? He’s a sorcerer! And here I was trying to warn you about demons and monsters!” The story then moves to the present as Shrae stands on the deck of his own ark that contains all the monsters that escaped the great flood. He sees five of the creatures return from a scouting missing to Noah’s ark and they tell him about the creature that’s under the waves that demands sacrifices. Bunn then moves to Noah’s ark to show how this iconic figure is reacting to the creature’s presence. For all the monsters in this issue, the focus is on how these horrors and the horrors inflicted by others effects everyone. The relationship between Khalee and Janris is outstanding. I knew that something bad was going to happen to the new character, but Bunn really shocks with what’s to be done with — and to!!! – the character. It’s gut wrenching to hear what’s to be done. One character does something for Shrae on the final three pages and I didn’t expect this individual to survive, though it’s obviously because what’s said. Talk about a cliffhanger! This issue continues to chart the path of all the monsters of the world, but shows how humans are just as ghastly. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: Juan Doe turns in another spectacular job in this issue, creating both the art and the colors. As Khalee leaves the village, Doe creates distance with the settlement small and the lack of any landmarks before her. Notice how Doe also uses yellows to show how unwell the character is at what she’s seen. There are two quick reminders of what she’s seen in graphic images that are colored a startling scarlet. Janris’s arrival introduces orange into the book, as a source of life. The focus on Janris’s dropping of the roots shows the physical shock of the character without showing the character herself — very cool. Shrae’s introduction begins as a series of panels that pull into his face that looks skyward in a downpour. The sky is colored green, giving the proceedings a sick feel. When the creatures appear with information the sky is colored orange, a harsh color for harsh creatures. Noah and his vessel are also under a green sky, reinforcing the troubles that his ark is encountering. The colors become more natural when he speaks with his son, suggesting a good relationship with one’s child can change the surroundings. The book’s double-paged splash fabulously shows the creature plaguing him as his passengers. The scene that begins on Page 13 is darkly colored, due to the location but also due to the dark action that’s being taken. It also serves to reintroduce a character to the story and this individual is great. The reveal on 16 is terrifying. The reader expected something bad, but this is truly a horrendous reveal. Pages 18 and 19 have only two sounds, allowing Doe to tell this part of tale solely with his visuals. He does an outstanding job, capturing something ferocious doing something with incredible speed, ending with a tease of something more massive. Though the final panel of the issue is small, the visage shows the reader that next issue will be monstrous. I really enjoy Doe’s work. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s text is by Ryane Hill who creates scene settings, dialogue, sounds, yells, whispers, a unique character’s unique speech, and a large individual’s speech. The scene settings are not one would expect in a book that’s set in a Biblical time, but it’s poofy letters instantly draw attention. There’s a lot of whispering in this book, with characters speaking under their breath or trying to get the focus of a deity. Doing this makes the characters’ utterances seem more real. The two individuals who have their own fonts for speech in the issue’s final pages increase their inhumanity with such lettering — it further separates them from the realm of man. A well done job. Overall grade: A

The final line: The focus shifts to a pair of young humans as the monsters’ barge continues its terrible trip. With the humans at the center of this issue, the reader will have to consider if man is worth saving if such horrible extremes exist. The visuals are great in setting a scene and showing hopes and horrors, while the colors are expressionist explosions upon each page. Dark Ark is a “must-read” for fans of horror and monsters. Deliciously deviant. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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